Sugane, Shunan is located in the eastern part of Yamaguchi Prefecture. Situated between the mountains and Nishikigawa River, it is an area rich in nature.
Delicious Water & Warm Sunlight
As Sugane is subject to rather harsh temperature variations, since olden times the people here have been growing pears and grapes. These days, the 15 tourist fruit farms in the area make up Sugane Fruit Land.
One of those farms – Fukuda Fruit Park – has been in business for over 60-years and is now run by the third generation. Visitors can enjoy picking blueberries in summer, and grapes and pears in the fall.
The current owner, Mr. Yoichi Fukuda, explains that 99% of growing the fruit is about optimizing the amount of sunlight the plants receive. The remaining 1% is about optimizing the soil conditions, and the research and technology that goes into that. Doing the right work at the right time all connects to the sweetness and the taste of the fruit at harvest time. Through agricultural methods and soil improvements, the farm has developed new fruit with 1% higher sugar content, which makes it 1g heavier.
A Plethora of Grapes
Fukuda Fruit Park grows 20 different kinds of grapes. In the photograph above, clockwise from the top-left, you have the aki queen, the ogyoku, the honey venus, the shine muscat, and the kyoho. As these days you don’t have to peel off the skin to eat them, the shine muscat is the most popular kind. I, however, prefer the larger, sweeter ogyoku. Staff members join you out in the orchard to find ripe fruit.
Along with grapes, the 4 hectare farm also grows pears. It takes 3-years for a grape tree to mature, and as much as 8-years for a pear tree. They grow 15 different kinds of pears here, including the sweet and juicy 20 seki, and the crispy akibae.
The truck in the photo above is used to carry harvested fruit from the orchard to the storage facility. For those who don’t wish to go and pick their own fruit, freshly picked fruit can be bought here. It is located right next to the farm entrance.
The sweets here are also really delicious! The photo above is of a grape tart and frozen pear calpis. The sweets are pure and gentle in flavor. They also sell various smoothies and jams.
Enjoying Nature Activities
During the off-season, there are plenty of other activities for everyone to take part in. This is tree climbing, where both kids and adults can climb to the top of trees using ropes.
Since the summer of 2016, visitors have also been able to try archery. Mr. Fukuda said that as his children got older and older, he installed more and more varied kinds of playthings and equipment. It’s a great feeling to move around and be active in the fresh, crisp mountain air! Please note that to take part in the activities and enjoy a BBQ here, you need to make an advanced reservation!
Fukuda Fruit Park
Fukuda Fruit Park is a part of Sugane Fruit Land, which is located in Shunan. At this fruit farm visitors can enjoy picking blueberries in the summer, and grapes and pears in the fall. In the off-season, you can enjoy BBQ, archery, and tree climbing, among other activities.
Address: 2780 Sugane, Shunan, Yamaguchi Prefecture
Open: 9:00 – 17:00
Blueberries – mid-July to mid-August
Grapes – mid-July to the start of October
Pears – mid-August to the end of October
Closed: Open everyday in fruit-picking season (April to November)
Homepage (Sugane Fruit Land): http://www.sugane-fl.net/
Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: Nana Takei
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